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October 1, 2022

Most of you are enjoying this issue outside of the walls of a church. For more than 20 years, River Region Christians has been about touching lives with the Good News beyond the church walls. But, an important sec­ond focus for us is to help connect any of you who are unchurched with churches, where you can be built up in the Word of God. We need His word desperately in a world opposed to God’s glory.

I’ve heard from enough of you to know you’re not sure you want to go back to church because of some pain the people there dealt you in life, recent or distant. Some of these pains are small, more like irritations, but others fall under the category of abuse. I’m so sorry any of you have suffered in this way.

There’s no question that church people are not per­fect. And nowhere in the Bible does it say they will be. It actually says the opposite. The Scriptures claim we are saved by grace, and although the Spirit’s work changes us, we continue to need grace from the fleshly deeds of our old nature continuing to plague us. The Scriptures also proclaim there’s only one who is per­fect, Jesus the Christ, and it’s Him alone the church lives through and gathers together to celebrate. Then we spread His message to this fallen world.

This subject is close to my heart because a dear friend recently suffered at the hands of some people at church. In fact, my friend was on staff. Though still suffering, the family has chosen to stay with the church. I hope all parties can be restored to one an­other gently because, in the end, the church and its people are a blessing. That’s God’s design. We need each other to reach our potential here on earth. We each bring gifts to equip and edify others by the Spirit working through us as one body.

If you’ve avoided connecting with a church, will you allow me to vouch for them? Of course, I don’t know every church, and I don’t know your experience. Still, in my position with River Region Christians for two decades, I’ve talked to and interacted with thou­sands of Christians connected with churches as members and staff. I don’t think this is a biblical term, but I can say there are some real jerks in churches, and I pray they’re held accountable for the discord they cause. On the other hand, though, thankfully, there are a thousand saints to every jerk who wants to lift you to a higher place… where you know you are secure and loved by the Savior. They want to help you rest in His peace if you join them. That may be a scary thought. So again, I’m sorry. But if you’re able, find a church and contact them. Tell them your struggles but confess your desire to reconnect and share that you’re looking for direction on the steps you can take.

After all my years in the church, I believe a God-deposited saint is waiting to take you by the hand and reintroduce you to the blessing of being in a community with God’s people. I hope you make that visit soon.

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Jason and his wife DeAnne have 3 kids and have called the River Region home most of their lives. A former Family & Student Minister who, together with DeAnne, launched KeepSharing LLC to publish local family and faith resources across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

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